From Matthew 15-17
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
This same passage is repeated in most of the gospel versions highlighting its importance. It is Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ.
13 Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ. (Mt 16.13-20)
This is the moment in the gospel which is very similar to that in the Matrix. Neo dies and comes back to life again. Tank then voices his belief in the prophecies fulfilment, ‘He is the One’. Likewise this is a huge statement from Peter. The Christ is the promised one. Israel has been waiting so long for the Christ and this is the moment of anticipation and excitement because Peter has come to believe Jesus is the One. On this rock [the confession Jesus is the Christ] Jesus will build his church.
Jesus then takes an unexpected turn for the disciples. He foretells His Death and Resurrection.
21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Mt 16.21-23)
Peter’s reaction reveals he was not informed about the prophecies concerning the Christ. Jesus seems to be the only one aware of them at the moment. But the later gospel ministry of the apostles will reflect this (Acts 17.2-3). Peter expects a more earthly campaign and victory, he does not recognise Jesus has a cosmic battle to fight. In misunderstanding and seeking to control Jesus, he gets rebuked. Perhaps part of the reason Peter acted like this was that he didn’t want to follow Jesus until his death. Peter would die as well. Did Peter believe Jesus would rise from the dead?
If these were the issues causing Peter to speak thus it makes sense of how Jesus continues.
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?
27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Mt 16.24-28)
Jesus stresses the cost of following him? Peter understood Jesus was walking to his death (‘he must go to Jerusalem’) and was not yet ready to follow him to his own death as well. Jesus pushes the issue with Peter, with his disciples and with us.
If anyone will come after me he must deny himself (let go of what you want), take up his cross (walk to your death), and follow Jesus. Because Jesus doesn’t promise an easy road.
But this is not the end. Jesus says he will come again in glory with his angels and repay people according to their deeds. Those who have done good, eternal life. Those who have done evil, judgment (Jn 5.29).
Death is not the end, it is the beginning. So take up your cross and follow Jesus.
Copyright © Joshua Washington and thescripturesays, 2014. All Rights Reserved.